Private Eye #1
Rafe Bridges stopped mixing business with pleasure long ago, but when he receives a call from an intriguing cop who needs help searching for an old family friend, he breaks down and takes on the case. With each day that passes, Rafe becomes further fascinated with Jeremy Halliday...but the biggest problem isn't his attraction to the cop or his growing need for him. It's the tiny little detail of Jeremy being straight.
Jeremy isn't as immune to Rafe as he'd like to believe and as they work together, sifting through a case that is more mysterious and dangerous than it seems, Rafe draws away from him. Knowing he might miss out on someone incredible, Jeremy has to figure out what and who he really wants. And soon.
Nothing is black and white anymore.
This was a very good beginning to the Liaisons series. I really liked both Rafe and Jeremy and their chemistry is pretty clear even from that first phone call when Jeremy asks Rafe to look into the disappearance of his friend's sister. I do think that the story would have been even better if there had been a little more "oomph" in the mystery part of the tale. I also think that at times the relationship between Rafe and Jeremy progressed a little too quickly although it was still believable because insta-love does happen. As a whole, Private Eye is a very entertaining read and definitely worth a look.
Question Mark #2
Coming back from being dumped is a struggle for Mark Newland. With a string of broken relationships behind him, Mark must either change the man he’s become, or continue on his bitter path. With reinvention in mind, Mark goes on vacation in Bora Bora, hoping it will bring him what he wants. He simply never figured it would be in the form of Hollywood’s most eligible gay bachelor, Zane Whitlow.
If Zane is suspicious of romance, he blames it entirely on his career. Never totally sure that men he’s been with wanted him over a taste of his fame, he errs on the side of caution when it comes to love. Until he meets Mark Newland, that is. Only hours into his vacation and for reasons he can’t understand himself, Zane abandons his usual safe approach in favor of pursuit. But Zane’s not the only one who thinks Mark might be the perfect guy…
With attraction, fear, and insecurity warring within Mark, will he have the strength to believe he deserves lasting love, or will his old ways come back to haunt him?
At first, I wasn't too sure about wanting to know Mark's story because of the way he behaved in Private Eye, however I quickly came around. Like everyone, Mark has his faults but with book 2 we get to see a little bit of what's underneath what we thought we knew. Zane is epitome of what we want Hollywood to be and often don't get to see, a regular guy with ups and downs just like the rest of us. Together, they make a very mismatched pair, at least on the surface but as time shows us they are more alike than even they realize. Throw in Christian and you have an interesting tale of finding the one that completes you and in doing so, everything else just falls into place, not because either of them needed the other to be complete but because finding each other let them open themselves up to what really matters.
Lost Won #3
Six years ago Christian Blakely lost his way. Fresh from college and sure of his future, an unexpected meeting changed everything. Frightened by the truth behind one night’s surrender to a hidden desire, he ran, determined to drive the memory of that night—that man—from his mind.
As the years pass, Christian builds a life around his work, drifting between relationships as the image of one man haunts his steps. Wishing he were free from a mire of what might have been, he is offered a chance at redemption when he comes face-to-face with the man at the root of it all.
Gunnery Sergeant Kevin McGuire understands commitment, whether it’s to his work as a US Marine, or to the happiness of his younger sister Risa. A proud and private man, he has never shared the story of the night with Christian; though years have passed he is still affected by it. When circumstances bring the two of them together again, Kevin is shocked by the depth of anger and passion that the younger man stirs.
With the obstacles of Kevin’s resentment and distrust in his way, Christian is confronted with the same choice of six years ago: stay and fight for what he wants, or run and hide…
I knew that Christian was more than the closeted man who unwittingly outed himself on an international scale in Question Mark and in this installment we get to see just what that something more is. Kevin is out but not because he's closeted so much as because he believes it just doesn't matter and he would feel the same way if he were straight, personal lives are personal, nothing more nothing less. Unfortunately, in living this way, he has kept it from his sister and his best friends as well. I love how the author has brought these two former one time lovers back together at the exact right time in their lives that they need each other. I think I found Lost Won to be my favorite in the entire series, well written, eclectic characters, and the idea that timing can be the most important part of making or breaking a relationship because sometimes, second chances work because the first time just wasn't meant to.
Fall Apart #4
Dodging his ex, giving the Best Man speech, and smuggling home extra slices of wedding cake are Damon Wright’s only plans on his buddy’s wedding day. Capturing the attention of a renowned photographer with twice the sexual magnetism of James Bond doesn’t even make the list. Accustomed to a life spent keeping his head down, managing family obligations, Damon is unprepared for even a lukewarm pursuit, much less the hot, focused advances of a man like Alarik whose sophistication leaves Damon reeling.
Tired of the vapid, morally bankrupt and grasping fellows so common in his line of work, Alarik is through serving as just another step for mercenary men on the ladder to success. Damon’s kindhearted reserve excites a profound response within him, enticing him with the idea of an honest future. Compelled to dig beneath the surface in search of something lasting, Alarik can’t help but wonder if falling in love can be as easy as breathing.
Yet, fairytales don’t exist in the pace of real life; they disappear in shadow. Absorbed by the happiness of finding one another, Damon and Alarik never see the darkness coming…
I think Fall Apart is the most heartbreaking installment in the Liaisons series but also the most heartwarming. Once again the connection between the two main characters is instant but their road is not easy. Damon has not had the greatest track record so he's reluctant but that only spurs Alarik on even more. I loved that we got to see what's happening in Mark and Zane's life since we last saw them in Question Mark as well. You will definitely need to have a box or two of tissues handy when you read this one. Lost Won may have been my favorite in the series but Fall Apart is a close second.
S. E. Culpepper currently splits time between writing and her full-time job. She wishes writing were the full-time job.
Private Eye #1
Question Mark #2
Lost Won #3
Fall Apart #4